Our house was the last house to sell on Pineview Drive in Webster in the summer of 1953. The houses on Pineview were built for the World War II vets and their families. My birth year, 1947, was the second official year of the post-war Baby Boom, so there were lots of kids my age on our new street.
The houses on Pineview were either Cape Cods or ranches with two styles of each. Both the more expensive Cape and the more expensive ranch had covered front porches. That was what made them special. Our house was one of the less expensive Capes. It was white with a red roof and sat on a lot composed entirely of sand. Not a tree nor blade of grass surrounded our houses. Playing sandlot baseball on Pineview Drive was a literal event. The houses had gravel driveways, and the contractor had been pretty stingy with the gravel. But I think my mom and dad bought our house for $11,400, which is now the cost of a half decent used car, and I don't remember anyone complaining about our spartan lawns and driveways.
I would make great friends on Pineview, but when I think back to the beginning of my life, I first remember the kids who quickly moved away. In the first year I lived there, I befriended a kid who was one year older than I was. He had a sad celebrity because his father had been killed the last year of the war, and now Doug, which was his name, lived in a ranch house with his mother and grandfather. When I was 6, he seemed a lot older than 7 , but what really impressed me about him was the fact that he was allowed to carry a little razor blade knife. It hung on his belt from a chain, and, to become his friend, you had to let him slice your palm a little and he would slice his. Then you would shake hands and become his blood brother. Doug moved away after about a year.
A few houses up the street, in an inexpensive Cape Cod, lived giant twin ten year-olds named Marshall and Maurice. I distinctly remember their size and the fact that they always wore white t-shirts and jeans. Maybe, we all always wore white t's and blue jeans, but I only remember it about the M and M twins and how big the t-shirts were. Soon, they moved away and another family moved in. They had a cocker spaniel and a little boy, maybe 4, whose name I have forgotten. He was a cute little guy, and then, they moved away. A year or so later, my friends and I would hear the terrifying news that that little boy had died of the chicken pox. We were told the chicken pox got inside him. It scared the snot out of us. An intimation of our own mortality.
Directly next door to us, in an upscale Cape lived a family with three boys, Raymond, who was 8, Kenny, who was 6, my age, and Ricky, who was about 2, my brother's age. For the first year we lived on Pineview Drive, Kenny was my best friend. One day we decided to dig a hole in Kenny's backyard to search for treasure. We dug and dug in the sand, which dug pretty easily. Suddenly we hit a hard surface. We began to clean it off, and saw that it was a man-made box or something. Treasure! Kenny ran inside to get his mom. She came out and told us we had unearthed the septic tank. I never got enough time to play with Kenny, because he was severely hearing disabled, wore hearing aids the size of fire hydrants, and went to special school in the city. We had great times when we did get to play, though, but then they moved away.
Further up Pineview Drive, lived a family with two boys, probably 5 and 4 years old. Their names were Toto and Gigi. Those were their real names. They moved away, too.
So what does this recollection of friends departed tell me. That 1953 was a very fluid time, I suppose. Jobs calling people to different places. Upwardly mobile house purchasing and moving on. But more than anything, it just makes me wonder what happened to those kids who were briefly part of my life so long ago.